Your outlook on life can change many things. It can change the way we view the world and how we respond to it. It took me (Jess) a long time to learn how to look on the positive side of things. I come from a very negative family who is always waiting for the worst to happen. They never think anything good happens to them and when something is going great for me and my husband, they always sour it with negativity of what could go wrong and the saying “it won’t last forever, just wait”.
They even didn’t want me to get my spinal fusion surgery, saying it was a waste of money and I might have to get another one in ten years. That could be true. Yes. However, just six weeks after my surgery, I am feeling like a human being again. I can actually do dishes. It does tire me out because I still have some recovering to do and my body is viewing the surgery as an injury, so it makes me tired, to force me to rest and heal. However, I haven’t felt this good in years since the incident with my younger sister who caused my chronic back pain for 15 years, and I’m only 31. Even before my state worsened 2 and a half years ago, gradually getting worse and worse over those two years, I haven’t felt this great. In my opinion, the money and the initial pain after the surgery was well worth it. I can actually keep up with my husband’s pace now without crying out in pain and nearly collapsing because I stepped wrong. My family wouldn’t even come see me while I was in the hospital because I did something they didn’t approve of.
This is the way they’ve treated me my entire life. I always wanted to please them, which, let me say, is impossible. They always find something to be unhappy about no matter how good things are in life.
Ashamedly, I was this way before I met the man I married, though my husband has told me I was never as bad as them. I still had hope for the future after everything I had gone through as a child and adolescent. Let me tell you, it’s hard to have a positive outlook on life when you live with people like this or let them affect your life the way I did. I always thought something horrible was going to happen. Usually it did because of them. Even after I graduated college and moved onto get my bachelor’s degree, the first person in the family to have done so, they found negativity in it. Instead of being proud of me, they brought me down saying I had wasted money and time and should have pursued the teaching degree I had initially thought I wanted. I am still thankful I didn’t pursue it. I would have been so unhappy. I was unhappy in my practicum classes where I actually got to teach, which led me to believe this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I have always wanted to write. It was an escape during my years at home, but blossomed into something I love doing now. I can barely go a day without writing something!
I had just moved out with my husband when I first started this degree, which I am fiercely proud to have earned, and had asked them to cosign a student loan for me which would have kept costs down from the much lower interest rate. They were also doing a deal where I would get a sign on bonus of over 3000 dollars. I have never taken advantage of these people and have always paid them back on payday when I needed to borrow $20 for gas to get to college and work, but because my older sister had gotten into some trouble and had owed them money, taking longer to pay them back than they would have liked, they refused to help me. They even refused to help me with a car loan so I could keep employed. Instead, they acted as if I were going to steal money from them by not paying on these loans and making them pay the loans back They even came out and said it would happen. There’s some trust in your own daughter, right? They wouldn’t even cosign an apartment for my husband and I when we were trying to get out of the dump we first moved into only to find there was a meth lab under us making us sick until the cops busted it, which was when we found out why we were so sick all the time.
Eight years later when my husband and I were buying our first home, which we love by the way, not too fond of being in the same town as my family, they were telling us not to do it. We were making a big mistake. We couldn’t possibly afford the house we were buying, which for nearly the last three years we have afforded just fine. It only cost us $200 more than the small, tiny apartment we were renting when we first moved back and stayed there while saving for a house. They did this with the new car we bought too because our 20 year old van and car were falling apart and bleeding us dry with all of their costly repairs. They said it was a mistake even though they knew I couldn’t get in and out of these vehicles with the way my back was and that one of the vehicles was usually in the repair shop. It was still a mistake and then the snide comments of how it must be nice to afford a new vehicle when they can’t and that we have a nicer home than them. We afford this vehicle by sacrificing other things in our budget. It’s a tight fit, but we needed a new one. With the added medical bills, it’s an even tighter budget, but we make it work by sacrificing other things. I am thankful for our new vehicle. I can actually get in and out of it. After my surgery with the other two we had, I’m not entirely sure I would have been able to get home! They spend over $1200 a month going to the movies. If they just cut it back to even $800 a month, they could still afford a car payment and the increased insurance. I pointed this out and I was evil, telling them how to live their lives, when I was making a point that we sacrifice things to have other things we need. There is no winning with these people.
Fortunately, for us, my husband’s mother is a very awesome person and believes in us and has helped us countless of times She even came to see me in the hospital after my surgery. I feel as if his mother is more of a mother for me than my own, who I haven’t actually gotten to see in months despite my efforts. She won’t return my calls, she won’t return emails. I stopped trying after my surgery. She didn’t even come see me or call me to see how I was doing. I did after each of her surgeries and offered to come back when we lived 9 hours away to help take care of her and only had one car, leaving my husband to try to get back and forth to work without transportation.
You can only try for so long before you realize that you’re trying too hard and for nothing. This came as a hard blow to me. It feels as if my family wants nothing to do with me because I refuse to act like them and allow myself to continue to by a scapegoat for them. There are days I want to break down and cry because of it. I want to have a nice family. One just has to change the definition of family. I have come to realize that just because they’re related to me by blood doesn’t make them family. Family is in how you treat people. They don’t treat me like family. Others do who aren’t related to me. They are my family.
Yes, sometimes bad things do happen in life. I know that, but if you try, you can see the positive in it. It’s your outlook on life that changes how you see life. I’ve tried telling my family this and have tried to encourage them to see the positive side in things, but they only get angry at me and ask me to leave as I’m unwilling to show them any kind of sympathy for their situation. For example, when my father turned diabetic at age 47 from drinking a 12 pack of soda a day and eating 3 to 4 candy bars a day as well as a bowl of ice cream for years (he was diabetic long before his diagnosis, which we had to beg him to get), he was angry. He didn’t understand why he was diabetic. I told him that with this news came a chance at a new lifestyle and if he just changed a few of his habits, he would be feeling better in no time. I told him I would even help him. I told him I would go on the same kind of diet as him to encourage him and because we’re both overweight I told him we could go to the YMCA together and get some exercise, as he was embarrassed about his weight and afraid people would make fun of him. Instead, he got angry with me and asked me to leave the house, telling me I was calling him a fat pig.
This has been a slow process. Over the last ten years as I have changed into a more positive, go getting type of person, which led my husband and I to have our first trilogy in print and in eBook, my family and I have separated. Even when we were writing, not considering being indie authors, my father told me I would never get published. I had no imagination. It hurt me so badly when he said this. It is still a sore spot with me. I came home in tears and told my husband what had happened after he persisted. I didn’t want to talk about it at first. Instead of saying anything bad about my dad, he comforted me and told me my dad didn’t know anything. He had read some of my earlier work and honestly thought I was talented. He also told me that as for someone with no imagination, I had been able to dream up a number of worlds with people and creatures in them all different from each other. If I had no imagination, I would have never been able to write the stories I had. I don’t think Jeff will ever know how much that encouraged me to continue. My husband has been a great supporter in our marriage and in family difficulties.
Even when I wanted to cut out my younger sister who had abused me throughout my childhood and was having a difficult time in doing so, he supported me. She was still abusing me as an adult. My parents had always allowed her to do so. If I went to them, telling them what happened with the bruises and scratches from her, they would tell me that somehow I provoked it. One time, I woke up to her hitting me. How in the world did I provoke that one? Still, they insisted it had been my fault.
One time, as an adult, I had come over to mom and dad’s for lunch because they were real close to my work place. The moment I had walked through the door, my sister raced after me and punched me, giving me a black eye I had to return to work with. I didn’t touch her. I simply left, told my older sister about it who came with me to mom and dad’s after work. My husband didn’t know what had happened yet. I knew he would be seething and would only make things worse. When I confronted my younger sister about it, with my parents in the room, she had told them I attacked her when I came into the house. My older sister pointed out that there were no marks or anything on her. I told them it was because I did no such thing. The proof was there. This is when my father proceeded to tell me I was lucky my younger sister hadn’t called the cops and got me charged with breaking and entering and assault. Again, no marks on her whatsoever whereas I was sporting a black eye I had been icing throughout the day as one of my work associates was kind enough to bring in a couple of packages of frozen vegetables from home on her lunch so I could. My parents had even given me a key and told me I could come over for my lunches. I told them it hadn’t been breaking and entering or even assault. My dad got real angry with me because I had defied him, which I rarely did. I had learned to keep my head down and my mouth shut to stay out of notice better. He told me he didn’t want to hear it anymore and asked me to leave. My younger sister actually laughed and told me it would be a good idea not to come back ever. My dad had agreed with her. My older sister offered to stay with me, but I told her it would be okay. Jeff was waiting for me. When I told my husband what had happened, he was angry as expected. If something like that had happened to him, I would have been angry too. He wanted to confront them, but I told them there was no point in doing so. They had already made up their minds.
I think this was the real turning point for me. I didn’t cut them out of my life then, as everyone who knew about the incident, which wasn’t many, thought I should. I never liked talking about these things to people outside of the family, feeling it was none of their business. It wasn’t until a few years ago, I decided to start talking about it. If my family didn’t want this out in the open, for one, they should have tried to talk about it when I attempted to on the few occasions I was brave enough to, and secondly, they should have treated me kinder in the first place. If they had, there would be nothing to talk about. Every childhood has its issues. I am well aware of that. However, these issues are far different from other childhood issues my friends and my husband have had. I should have never been allowed to be abused by my younger sister throughout my time living there or while she still lives under their roof. I should have never been told it was all my fault instead of addressing the real issue. It wasn’t just me my younger sister did this to. They had to take her out of public school because she attacked a few other students and was failing school, which I’m sure in her mind was somehow my fault, too, as my parents seemed to encourage this mindset. She has even told me that her wrecking her car was my fault. I wasn’t even in her car or anywhere near her, but somehow it was my fault… She has even had a few assault charges as an adult.
Throughout all of this, my husband has encouraged me to stay positive and do the things I want to do. He has told me not to let my family affect the way I feel or tell me how to feel. I realize he was telling me, in a polite way, that I have the power of how I feel, of who I am, and who gets to be in my life because this is my life. It isn’t theirs to do with as they please. It isn’t theirs so they can make me feel bad about my life to make them feel better about theirs. This is my life and I have the power to overcome anything.
For my husband, I will always be thankful for the encouragement he has given me, though in our earlier years of marriage it did cause some fights as I was blindly loyal to my parents. They were my parents was always my excuse. i was their daughter. Yes, I am their daughter only by blood. I am not their daughter from the way they have always treated me and continue to do so until recently because I have stopped letting them do so. I won’t let them have that power over me again. There will be tough days ahead of me, but there is always a positive outlook. Without them being in my life, I can move on with mine and be happy with who I am and not worry about someone who is supposed to be supportive of me telling me I can’t do things or doing these things is a mistake, or being jealous of the things I am doing. All I have wanted is for them to be happy for me.
It is in each and every person’s power to see the world in a different light, to see it in a positive light instead of the negative one. I hope this helps others who have been having trouble with doing what is right for them. you are not alone. There are others who have gone through what you’ve gone through and those who have gone through worse.
Just remember to have a positive outlook on life, even when things don’t seem too great. There is always a reason for them. Difficulties give us strength we never knew we had.